Summer Heat? These Container Plants Can Take It!
No rain in the forecast? No problem!
Try these incredible heat-tolerant, low water use container plants in your Arizona garden. Conserving water is no longer just an eco-friendly trend, it’s a necessity for many of us. Pairing hot, dry Arizona weather with heat-tolerant, low water use plants that thrive in these conditions is a match made in heaven and will help you have a more relaxing, fruitful gardening season!
Keep in mind – these plants are great for tolerating hot periods without rain, but they DO need to be watered from time to time. We recommend using a water meter to measure the moisture levels in your soil. Since these plants need to be watered less frequently than others, the water meter is perfect for letting you know when these beauties need a drink.
Not to be confused with elephant’s foot, elephant’s food is an evergreen succulent that can grow up to 8 feet or more in its ideal environment. Elephant’s food is aptly named due to it being a favorite snack of elephants, tortoises and other wild game. It has small circular vivid green leaves on reddish-brown stems. It occasionally puts out pink star-shaped flowers that attract birds and insects. Elephant’s food plants are the perfect choice for Arizona gardeners because of its ability to be drought-resistant, and because of its simple beauty. Use elephant food in containers, on your patio or entranceway, or pair it with other plants that are heat tolerant and have low water needs so each plant is happy as a (dry) clam.
The Moroccan mound is a succulent with tons of visual interest but low in maintenance needs. Often confused with a cactus, the Moroccan mound succulent is prized for its medicinal qualities and is, quite frankly, just darn cute. Pair these plants with other heat-tolerant succulents for a beautiful succulent garden in your Arizona backyard. Moroccan mounds will grow freely and spread quickly so long as they get plenty of sun and are in well-draining soil. If you want to propagate it, just cut off a branch of the plant, and let the plant “heal” for about a week as the plant’s latex dries out. Then plant it in a succulent-friendly soil like E.B. Stone Organics Cactus and Succulent Potting and Planting mix.
Agave is a beautiful succulent known for its pointed leaves and hardiness against harsh elements. You’ll want to try to recreate the agave plant’s natural habitat as much as possible—lots of sun, and rocky soil. When growing agave in containers or pots, use cactus soil mix for best results, and you may want to add additional rocks to the mix. Agave grown in containers need more water than those grown in the ground, but still allow the plant to dry out well between waterings. Agave thrives on neglect! Besides the occasional watering, be sure to prune it back when needed so that the pups it puts out after blooming can thrive.
If you’re looking for heat-tolerant plants that can add some pop and flare to your Arizona garden, look no further than firesticks. These bold succulents grow in woody stalks that have branches which flare out and turn from green to red-orange. They can grow endlessly, so they are great for creating borders or flaming privacy curtains on your property. Growing firesticks in pots or containers would be a great way to make a statement on your patio or around an entrance. Water firesticks very sparingly, and always handle with caution: firesticks are very toxic!
A sight for sore eyes, adeniums, or desert roses, bring life and beauty to any desert landscape. Drought-resistant plants can be hard to come by, never mind something so beautiful and delicate as a rose in Arizona. Adeniums come in many beautiful colors and varieties, but what they all have in common is their love of sunlight, at least 6-8 hours of light per day, and the need for warm temperatures, never below 60 F. You can recognize desert roses by their very thick trunk, which is what holds and regulates its water absorption. You can plant adeniums in containers alone, or with other low water use plants. Let them stand out among a sea of heat-tolerant succulents, or plant several roses together for a container bursting with beautiful blooms. Adeniums are perfect roses for beginners, so don’t be shy!
Plumerias are fragrant, sweet flowers that you’ll recognize as the flower commonly found in Hawaiian leis. Lucky for us, these plants love Arizona weather and are more drought-resistant than they may seem! Plumerias come in shades of white, yellow, red, and pink. Expect beautiful blooms from spring to fall, as long as the weather stays warm. These plants are picky about wet feet, so let them dry out thoroughly between waterings.
While these juicy darlings will need a few more squirts of water in Arizona weather than the other low water use container plants in this list, it can still handle some dry conditions. Dwarf citrus trees will produce the same size and quality of fruit as a full-sized tree, but the plant itself will be more manageable for you and will require less water overall. Dwarf citrus trees come in many varieties, so you can choose a fruit that will keep your mouth watering all season long. Growing dwarf trees in containers is a perfect option to control their location and growth. Grow your dwarf citrus tree in a two to three gallon container, where it will grow up to 4 feet tall. These low water use plants can go some time between waterings, but be sure that when you do water them, water thoroughly, deep into the roots.
There are many types of heat-tolerant. low water use plants and succulents that you can use in your pots and containers this year. If you need to get your hands on some low-maintenance plants for Arizona's climate, come visit us! We are always happy to help you choose your perfect plant combination for this growing season.
About SummerWinds Nursery: SummerWinds Garden Centers is a leading high-end retailer of garden and nursery products. Headquartered in Boise, Idaho, SummerWinds operates retail nurseries in the greater Phoenix, Arizona area, and in Silicon Valley, California, making it one of the largest independent retail nursery companies in the west. SummerWinds appeals to both the serious and casual gardeners, with a broad selection of premium gardening products and a friendly and knowledgeable staff.